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When limits ARE needed!

Happy Halloween, Zhu Zhu Peeps!


It is agreed that limits can be super-irritating when you have a lot of kids to buy for. But in some instances, I think many would agree that some sort of purchase policy would be a good thing! Here is a story that was shared on the GottaDeals forum thread last night by "Katie811" from Massachutes:

"I had to share this with you all.

I got to Target this morning at 7:50 (waiting for the doors to open) and 8am comes around and I walk toward target this guy starts walking past me (of course i'm not thinking he is after Zhu Zhu's) so he grabs his cart looks back at me and RUNS! I was like WTH!? So I turn the corner to the Zhu Zhu isle, and there he is! He pushed the cart right against the shelves and threw EVERY zhu zhu item INTO HIS CART! Even the pegs went flying! I was speechless!!

Now all my son is asking for - for christmas is the Zhu Zhu slide.

So I very nicely ask the guy "could I have one of those slides please, my son wants it for christmas" he responds with "WELL IF YOU WANT IT BAD ENOUGH YOU WILL BUY IT OFF EBAY FROM ME!!" with the BIGGEST smile.. i was so in shock!

so all my trips to Target and never finding anything is because he is there taking it all every morning! looks like my son will never get the slide and I am not paying off ebay !"

A story like that just leaves you speechless! I cannot imagine being in that situation. When someone purchases all available stock, everyday, then a REASONABLE limit per person policy should be instituted. What do you think?

Personally, I think the guy should have felt like such a jerk. If she got the courage up to plead for one slide, it wouldn't have hurt him to give one up. My curiosity got the best of me, so I did a little simple math after I read this story:

$25.00 (average slide price on eBay from 10-30)
- $16.05 (approx. Target retail with 7% sales tax)
- $ 2.55 (approx. eBay listing fee/comission)
- $ 1.17 (approx. PayPal fee on $30 (sale price plus $5 shipping)
_________
profit: $5.23 per slide

Oh, and don't forget to deduct cost of shipping materials, and gas to/from Target and the post office. I just see very, very little profit in it at this point. Who wants to make people miserable and get paid pennies on the dollar to do so? Not me!

I hope everyone is having some luck at finding Zhu Zhu Pets™ items at retail prices!!
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"November New Releases"? The truth revealed!


Good Afternoon, Zhu Zhu Maniacs!

For the past month or so, I have seen different toy-related websites (and eBay, to a much smaller extent) doing presales on the unreleased new Zhu Zhu Pets™ hamsters, hamster babies, and clothing. All of them seem to be touting a release/ship date of November. I have continued to wonder where they are getting their information, considering I was told by a Cepia representative that: The new hamsters will not be released before December, and the babies, outfits, and new vehicles will not be released before Spring 2010.

After reading a post this morning from an individual claiming to have found a pink/white Jilly on the shelf at a Walmart today, I decided to reconsult with my Cepia contact. Here is part of her response to me:

"This is highly unlikely. Wal Mart has not even placed their orders for the new hamsters yet and Toys R Us is the ONLY mass retail store that is expected to have the new characters before Christmas. If this woman really did purchase Jilly, the factory made a MAJOR mistake in packing and shipping, but again, it is highly unlikely."

Though I would like to believe that some new releases may have found their way to shelves, I will remain skeptical until I see photographic proof ☺

My real concern in this matter isn't the "he said/she said" of what and when items will be available. It bothers me that individuals may lay out a lot of hard-earned money for these presales in order to get a coveted item before Christmas, and it will be impossible for the seller to deliver on this promise. I suppose I can summarize it in two simple words: "Buyer Beware!".

On a happy note, here is a bit of good news my contact passed along to me today:

" For existing Zhu Zhu Pets goods: They are being shipped. We have over 2 million hamsters on the way that will hit store shelves before Christmas."
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TRU Presale on Giant Hamster City Playset


**Yawn**

A headache has contributed to a bit of insomnia tonight. It was just brought to my attention on my Facebook page that TRU.com has their exclusive "Giant Hamster City Playset" available for PRESALE right now for 99.99 at this link . Estimated ship date is 11/23. Limit 3.
Several weeks ago, TRU.com had this posted, but not in stock yet. At that time, the retail price was listed at 84.99. Wonder what could have spurred at $15 price increase? Low-retail for the individuals pieces of the set (which DOES include Patches) would be about $86 + tax. So it might be worth it to you to nab the majority of the accessory pieces and two hamsters and save on gas!
UPDATE: As of this morning, this set/presale has vanished from TRU.com. Hopefully some of you who were interested were able to get in on it before it was gone!
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In-Stocks, Price Hikes, and Bits



Hello, Zhu Zhu-ites!

Walmart.com has sporadically been adding hamsters for the last several days. Some people are reporting luck with nabbing some, while others say that by the time they are alerted by Zoolert, they are out of stock. Other problems include getting the hamsters in your cart but being unable to checkout with them. (This was a reported problem when TRU.com had them in stock, as well). Zoolert is unsure of what is causing the problem... if literally they are only adding a very small number of hamsters (less than 10) at a time, and the massive amounts of people are snatching them up before the Zoolert tracker refreshes every 2 minutes. Regardless, I hope some of you have been lucky in your recent hunting ventures!

One word of advice: It seems that when an online retailer starts consistently adding stock, the brick-and-mortar stores also seem to get more shipments during that time. With that said, keep a close eye on Walmart ☺ And a making a friend or two in the toy dept. doesn't hurt your chances, either!

eToys is at it again....it appears several days ago, they raised prices on all of the accessory packs! With their hamsters still at 19.99, the accessories did seem to be priced at comparable retail. Now they are about $5 above Walmart's retail prices. What gives? Anyway, if you feel like paying 3rd party prices at a supposed retail store, eToys has nearly everything in stock.

As always, keep an eye on the Hamster Blog , as they are always giving away little hints about good things to come! Of course, I will keep you updated of any Zhu Zhu Pets™ news/rumors here!
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"Custom" Zhu Zhu Pets™??



Good Monday Morning, Zhu Zhu Lovers!

As the Zhu Zhu craze continues, people are starting to get creative to cash-in on the popularity and the looming holiday season. Up until now, this has consisted of individuals making custom, handmade items like clothing/outfits and sleeping bags.

It was brought to my attention a few days ago that people are "dyeing" the hamsters (usually Chunk, the all-white one) and selling them as custom. (All photos property of the respective eBay auction-holders). Is anyone else reminded of the "custom" tye-dyed Valentino Beanie Babies of years past??






I am not sure of the exact dyeing process that they are using, as traditional dyeing would saturate the hamster with water and ruin it beyond use. I am thinking it must be some sort of dye-marker (or even plain, old Crayola markers!).

If you search "custom Zhu Zhu" on eBay, there are currently 12 auctions, with quite a few completed auctions. It doesn't seem that these "custom" hamsters are going for any more $ than the plain, unaltered ones... and in some cases, LESS. This could be a risky venture for these sellers, as once they are dyed they obviously won't be able to be returned to a store if they do not sell.

Personally, I think I would rather wait until the new hamsters are released!
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In Stock Today: Walmart.com!!!

Get your Zoolert screens up and running! Walmart has been adding hamsters and funhouses today! To make the process go more quickly, be sure to sign into Walmart and have all of your info (address, credit card, etc.) saved so you can check out ASAP if you nab them ☺☺
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Something Fishy at eToys?



Happy Hump Day!


Talk on the boards seems to have shifted to eToys.com. As a supposed "retail store", they do currently have Zhu Zhu Pets™ in stock....at more than twice the retail price! Interestingly enough, the accessories are all priced at average retail, while the hamsters are $19.99 each. What gives?!

According to this link , eToys is owned by Toys R Us. Individuals state that packing slips from eToys orders (as recently as yesterday), have the Toys R Us/Babies R Us logo on them. So, it becomes apparent that they share the same warehouse.

What's the big deal? According to Zoolert.com, Toysrus.com has not had any hamsters in stock since 10-9, nearly 2 weeks ago. (Incidentally, at that time they were selling the hamster 3-packs for 34.99... $5 over their own seperate hamsters retail of $9.99). Now Toysrus.com is bone dry, yet eToys has had ample stock for days.

It is appearing to many of us that Toys R Us.com must be rerouting their inventory to eToys and charging double-retail by doing so. Makes sense because it would be very contradictory if they charged twice as much online at Toysrus.com as they do in their brick-and-mortar stores. At $19.99, I dare say they wouldn't have anyone waiting in line at the store.

It's a free country, and Toys R Us has the right to do whatever it feels, right? True. But it certainly puts a bad taste in many people's mouths regarding the company in general. On one hand, in stores they are limiting to 1 hamster/person/day (or sometimes 1 per household, as I mentioned in an earlier post)...in an effort to spread the wealth and discourage 3rd-party hoarders. But on the other hand, if they are using their alias store, eToys, as a tool to cash in on the craze and charge more than twice the retail... not cool. Not at all. Especially since the average completed price on eBay today is $20/hamster, they are no better than the hoarders they are supposedly trying to discourage.
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Do you have a burning Zhu Zhu Pets™ question?


A lot of people have been talking to me about things they would love to be able to ask the friendly (and super-busy!) Cepia LLC. Comment on this thread with your burning Zhu Zhu Pets™-related questions and I will try to get them answered for you!
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Zhu Zhu Pets™ at the St Louis Zoo this Saturday!



Good Morning, Zhu Zhu-ites!
If anyone is in the area, they should stop by the St. Louis Zoo this Saturday for the Boo at the Zoo event! It is free to get in and starts at 9 a.m. According to the official Zhu Zhu Pets™ website, Mr. Squiggles will be there:

"Calling all Zhu Zhu Pets™ fans in St. Louis, MO!

Be sure to check us out and meet Mr. Squiggles this Saturday, October 24th (9AM) at the St. Louis Zoo in Forest Park. Come play with Zhu Zhu Pets™, eat free candy, and register to win your very own Zhu Zhu Pets™ hamsters and accessories! Where will your Zhu Zhu zhu-oom?

Location : St. Louis Zoo
Time: Saturday Oct 24th - 9AM

Mr. Squiggles is appearing at the Saint Louis Zoo for the "Boo at the Zoo" Event. Bring the kids for a meet and greet!
"

All I can say is I want to take our kids SOOO badly. We love the STL Zoo so much. But we have my daughter's school carnival and another Halloween party that day, so we just don't have time to make the 3 hour trek. If anyone else goes, I would love some photos to post!
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Time Warp! Entire "Go Go Pets" set for $29.95!

Good morning, Zhu Zhu Hunters!

I found this a while back on Cepia's YouTube page. My best guess is that the originally named "Go Go Pets" might have been released as an "As Seen on TV" item in a test market. All I can say is I WISH I had that 1800-number to order my complete set for $29.95!! Anyway, it is a great commercial and really showcases what these silly little hamsters can do!

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Target Ad Update 10/18

*Well, the ad is here and no Zhu Zhu Pets™... Bummer! That is the thing about rumors: they can be exciting, but disappointing, too. However, people are reporting finding them at Target as announced, so I hope some of my readers may have been able to get lucky this morning! **
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Zhu Zhu Pets featured in Target Ad SUNDAY 10/18


Happy Saturday, Zhu Zhu-ites!

The buzz on the boards is that finally, the Zhu Zhu Pets™ will be making their debut in weekly ad circulars by being spotlighted in the Target ad that comes out tomorrow! Supposedly, it was in the corporate memo that all Zhu Zhu Pets™ hamsters were to be held back until the official release on Sunday, 10/18.

Many people have reported finding the accessories (namely the harder-to-find skateboard and spiral slide) on Target shelves already, but fewer people have actually seen the hamsters. I have seen reports that the managers say boxes are specifically marked not to open until 10/18. It is uncertain how many each store will even have, but it is nearly certain that it will be limit 1 hamster per person.

(If anyone does go tough it out at Target first thing in the morning, I would love any photos of the chaos (or lack thereof), the display, etc. to post here on the blog!)
Another thought... if, indeed, Target is putting out their hamster stock tomorrow, it is possible that they may also update target.com with stock. Keep your Zoolert pages minimized, and you might get awakened by the sound of a Zoolert rooster!

I think things are about to start getting VERY exciting! Good Luck!!

ps.... You can now follow me on Twitter .
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Newsflash: 8 NEW hamsters???!!!


Hello again!


As I mentioned earlier today, the sneaky Professor Zhuzeau left a coded message in a podcast yesterday on The Official Hamster Blog . My genius friend Jessica reversed the audio for me so you can hear the hidden message!
video
The question posed on the Official Blog was this: "Inspector ZhuZeau stopped by to let us know he's looking for a number of hamsters that are on the loose. Can you understand what he's saying?"


To us it sounds like- Rocky, Moon, Spotty, Tex, YoYo, Cappuccino, Jinx, and Peachy

Eeeek! With the other four newbies, that is a total of 12 more hamsters to track down!!


☺☺☺I'm up for the challenge... are you? ☺☺☺

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Tidbits



Hey, Zhu Zhu Pets™ aficionados!

I have been stalking Walmart the last two mornings, as I was told that there would be accessories coming in soon. Well, there was merchandise this morning: 12 hamsters, 1 car, 2 wheels, and 1 sleepdome. No slide :o( I have a cousin that works at TRU in NE, so I have asked her to keep her eyes open for the slide. Fingers crossed!

I was letting my 3 year old look at one of the hamsters today while we were at Walmart ("We will have to ask Santa to bring them to our house!"). I can understand why the batteries go dead before people get them home! Even after I put it back, it kept vibrating and talking for quite awhile! Note to self: have plenty of AAA batteries on hand for Christmas... ☺

I notice that TRU.com has removed the pictures/listings for the unreleased, four new hamsters. I am getting the impression that these may not be available before the end of the year... but we can still hope! If you happen to see Zhu Zhu Pets™ hamsters on the shelf, make sure to scan through for potential newbies. From what I was told by a Walmart toy dept employee, they order them in an "assortment", so when newbies start showing up, they will be mixed in with the original ones. Never hurts to look! Although I do not encourage anyone to pay the crazy prices, eBay listings are a good way to see what kind of quantity is out there. Plus, you know the SECOND that any of the newbies are found, they will be on eBay.

I found an interesting article last night about Cepia and the Zhu Zhu Pets™ craze. You can read this article here. I was pleasantly surprised that the people behind Cepia, LLC. were also behind the Trendmasters toy company of the late 90's. Trendmasters made a line of awesome Gumby toys/merchandise, which I collected and still have!


One last thing... hop over to the Zhu Zhu Pets™ Hamster Blog and listen to the podcast with "Inspector Zhuzeau". Can ANYONE get the secret message??? My entire iTunes library crashed on me last night when I was attempting to listen to it backwards!
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Frustration at the Checkout



Hello, Zhu Zhu Pets™ fanatics!

Over on the GottaDeal.com forum, there is a very active Zhu Zhu Pets™ thread. Some interesting discussion has taken place in the last weeks. Most recently, people have been showing frustration. Target.com has been cancelling preorders that were completed several weeks ago. Stores are enforcing limits on Zhu Zhu Pets™ hamsters and accessories, sometimes to an extreme. The following is a post on that thread by username "friholic", which left me feeling very sad, indeed:

"I understand that Toys R Us is trying to help parents get a hard to find toy, but the limits are boarding on a little silly, as parents do shop for more than 1 child at a time. No matter the limit Toys R Us is still selling out of them within 5 minutes of a store opening.

Here is one problem with the 1 Zhu Zhu Pet limit. My SIL took my niece to the store. She was lucky enough to get there and some were on the shelf. My niece did some extra chores last weekend to earn the money to buy a Zhu Zhu Pet. So my niece proceeds to pick 1 of the 4 colors of hamster she wants. With such pride she picks Num Nums. While my niece was distracted my SIL picked up a white one and put it in her cart along with some other items (trying to hide it from my niece). When they go to pay my SIL puts her items on the counter. She hands her white Zhu Zhu Pet to the cashier and gives that parents nod and wink to the cashier and whispers "can you put this at the bottom of the bag?" You know the look we all give to the sales clerk when we are tying to distract our child and pay for something at the same time. The cashier was helpful and my SIL paid for her items.

Then it was my niece’s turn to pay for her Zhu Zhu Pet. With all the pride of an 8 year old, with her change inside her Hello Kitty Wallet inside her Jonas Brothers purse she steps to the counter. Proudly says she "wants to buy this". The cashier then turns to my SIL and tells her that my niece can't buy it. It is explained that since my SIL already purchased 1 Zhu Zhu Pet that my niece can't now purchase one. It is further explained since my niece and my SIL are related it is only "1 Zhu Zhu Pet per household per day". REALLY?

So not only was my niece denied her purchase, she now knows that my SIL had purchased one for a present. "


Further posts revealed that this incident was backed up by the store's manager, and Toys R Us corporate customer service stated that each store's manager has the power to make and enforce these rules to their discretion.

The good news is that Cepia is definitely producing/shipping as many of these sweet critters as fast as they possibly can! They do not condone any of the price-gouging and 3rd party sales that are taking place. They are committed to satisfying the customers to the best of their ability during this time. One representative's words sum it up best: "I know goods are tough to come by, but there are millions of hamsters our there and on their way!".

It appears that Toys R Us is the most reliable place to find shipments of Zhu Zhu Pets™ these days. Do not be afraid to call ahead of time and inquire... ask about when shipments may be expected and about any limits that may be imposed. Don't be afraid to take family and friends with you, if need be!

As always, happy and successful hunting!
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Sliders



Happy Friday, everyone!

It seems that the main talk on the message boards is the limits that stores like Toys R Us and Walmart are imposing on Zhu Zhu Pets™ purchasers. I mean, I understand that the retailers have a point: spread as much love to as many people possible. However, parents (etc.) who have multiple children to purchase for are in a bit of a predicament when they are limited to 1 hamster OR accessory. Unfortunately, this is due to people hoarding them for the secondary market... and likewise, I have seen many people who are starting to think that eBay's prices don't look too bad right now, considering their frustration. And so the cycle continues...

I have been lucky because I have been able to track down everything in a decent amount of time. EXCEPT for that elusive slide! I will keep looking because I am sure it will turn up eventually (even if it is after Christmas). I will not pay $30 + s/h on eBay for a $15 item.


I hope everyone out there has a great and Zhu Zhu-filled weekend!
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Retail Secret of the Day: Rain Checks!



Hello, Zhu Zhu Lovers!

I have been checking with my closest Shopko store, off and on, for a couple of weeks. They have had the hamsters in stock ($11.99), but had yet to get any accessories or the starter set with Patches. Since I hate to waste so much time/gas making the 40 minute round-trip, I gave them a call every day or two to check. Here is an abbreviated telephone conversation I had with them last week:

Me: Do you know if you have received any of the Zhu Zhu Pets­™ accessories or houses in yet? I am especially looking for the starter set that comes with Patches the hamster.

Employee: Let me go check for you.

(
Few minutes later)

Employee: No, we still haven't received them yet. BUT I scanned the barcode on the shelf, and they are actually on sale right now! If you want to come in and get a rain check, we will hold the items you want AND call you when they come in!


What a noble concept... they will call ME instead! So I went and got my rain checks, and within 24 hours I received the call saying the items had arrived. My husband stopped by on his way home from work and picked them up...the starter set with Patches was on sale for 15.99 (reg 19.99), and he also found the skateboard/U-turn for $9-something (reg. 11.99). That VERY night, a Patches starter set sold on eBay for $109!!! Crazy, crazy people.

(I couldn't help but take Patches out of the box for a quick peek before Christmas!)

The odd thing is that there were no signs up or no mention in the Shopko ad saying that they were on sale. Bless the toy dept. girl who planted the rain check idea in my head! This is certainly something to keep in mind. I look for Zhu Zhu Pets™ to start showing up in the Target, Walmart, etc. weekly ads soon. If they happen to be on sale, it certainly doesn't hurt to get a rain check! You may end up with the thing you most need, PLUS sale-priced, to boot ☺
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Zhu Zhu Pets™ SQUIRRELS??



Happy Weekend, everyone!


I hope everyone is have luck finding the Zhu Zhu Pets™ and accessories they are looking for. The number of starter sets w Patches has tripled in the last day on eBay, which tells me that more are shipping. Keep an eye out at Meijer, Duckwall, Hallmark, and Shopko to grab one at retail!
Take a listen to the podcast with "Papa Zhu Zhu" at the official Zhu Zhu Pets™ hamster blog .

Is it my imagination, or are they hinting at Zhu Zhu Pets™ squirrels??? Take a listen and leave me a post, tell me what YOU think!
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Hamster babies, Clothing, and New Accessories


Hello again, Zhu Zhu Hunters!

In my area, this week is showing a definite increase of the individual hamsters available in stores. In one day, I went to 2 Walmarts and 2 Shopkos, and there were anywhere from 1 to 20 hamsters on the shelves. HOWEVER... I did not find even one accessory kit! I am wondering if Cepia has stepped up hamster-shipping due to the demand, and accessories have temporarily taken a back seat while that gets caught up. Very interesting to think about!

Here is last question I asked the friendly people of Cepia, LLC.:

Q: Will the hamster outfits, boat/sports car/van, and additional hamsters and baby hamsters be available to the public before Christmas?

A: The hamster outfits, babies, and new vehicles will be released for Spring 2010... sorry I cannot provide an exact date
(Note: As previously posted, I was told that the four new hamsters (Jilly, Scoodles, Nugget, and Winkie) would be available in December. It is speculated that they may become available sooner, considering they are now pictured on Toysrus.com)




You may have seen these pictures on the back of the Zhu Zhu Pets™ packages. What a teaser! Aren't these outfits adorable?? I had hoped these would be available for stocking-stuffers....and who knows? Shipment plans could change. But if all else fails, there are Easter baskets to plan for ☺


If you go to the official blog that the Zhu Zhu Pets™ hamsters "write" (http://www.zhuzhupetshamsterblog.com/), you will see all sorts of cute little recordings, photos, videos, etc. In the post titled "Interview with Patches", Patches talks about driving around in her new red coupe. In the above picture, notice that there looks to be a boat-dock behind the boat, probably an attachment to the Hamster City!




Also on the blog, there is a little skit/video entitled "Sunday Drive". You MUST watch this one. You will see the new boat, car, and station wagon in action! In this photo, it appears that the surfboard will actually attach to the roof. Plus, in the video it shows that TWO hamsters will be able to ride in this vehicle. COOL!
Although I am not holding my breath, there is always the potential that these accessories could be released sooner, to take advantage of the holiday craze. But if not, just relax and wait to see what Spring 2010 has in store for us!